I love summertime. It’s a wonderful, magical, carefree season. We escape our usual routines, pull on our play clothes and lie on our backs to watch the clouds float by. We play in the lake, climb trees, and bake in the sun. At night we catch fireflies, camp out in the backyard and…oh, wait. That’s what we did when we were kids, back before life got so doggone busy. And full. And sometimes, downright frantic.

I miss those slower-paced, lazy days. Instead of just longing for what was, I’ve decided to create a slow-down summer. I’m going to consciously incorporate the things I love best about summer into the next few months.

Care to join me? Here’s what I’m planning:

Connect– I’m deliberately scheduling non-structured fun with my family. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but without specific dates on the calendar, the time slips away. I’m planning some serious relaxation, though: boating, beach days, cookouts….Hubby and I are also connecting with nature, having fun pampering his vintage rose bushes, biking, exploring the area.

Family boating fun

Family boating fun

Disconnect electronically – I find I need an electronic break every so often. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook and Twitter and all the rest. But sometimes, I need a break. I offered a few tips for disconnecting in a blog post called, “The Blessing (and Curse) of Instant Access.” (Just click the link if you’d like to read it.)

Read –I enjoy reading on my IPAD, but this summer I’m also savoring the smell and feel of print books. I’m reading, The Invisible Thread: The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny. After that, I’m itching to start a new book called, An Unhurried Life. I’m intrigued—and a little skeptical that such a thing is possible.

Retreat from regular life – While I’d love to take a three-week trip to…anywhere, I’m planning for at least a few days away—to do all the things I just mentioned: hang out with loved ones, connect with nature, read, and NOT check my cell phone.

Dream big –I’m going to allow myself the mental space to dream. I’m planning to check in with some long-held dreams to see if they’re still where I want to go. I want to see how some other dreams are progressing and maybe, dream some new dreams, too.

There you have it. My non-technical, loosey-goosey plan for a slow-paced summer. I’m excited. Just the idea of loosening the rigid walls of my to-do list helps me breathe easier. I can almost feel the sand between my toes, the simple joy of living, surrounded by those I love.

What are you doing this summer?